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Getting more comfortable with uncertainty

The Weekly Seeker #26

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How comfortable are you with uncertainty…

… when you don’t know how something is going to turn out?

When you have to wait to find out the outcome of something in your life?

Or when you set out on an unknown path, without being able to see where it’s going to lead you?

Many of us have a limited tolerance for uncertainty.

We might experience uncertainty as a threat, as something we need to fix or avoid at all costs.

For me, uncertainty and being in a state of not knowing have often felt deeply uncomfortable (along with some other anxiety patterns I’ve experienced in this lifetime).

We’re all on a continuum of how much uncertainty we can tolerate and be ok with before we start experiencing inner tension, discomfort, and stress. (Along with a strong need to resolve the uncertainty.)

If you’re like me, you might have an inner part of you who we might call the “reassurance-seeker.”

This is the part of us that doesn’t know how to sit with uncertainty, that wants to know everything in advance, that might over-prepare for things and/or seek reassurance or validation from others.

These are all safety-seeking behaviors, which we use to try to escape the discomfort of having to face uncertainty.

A key point I want to make here: you’re not bad, wrong, or weak for seeking reassurance or being uncomfortable with uncertainty. The fear of the unknown is a primal human fear, hard-wired into all of us at a physiological level.

But – uncertainty is a fundamental, essential, unavoidable aspect of human life.

Trying to escape, avoid, or control uncertainty (or fill it in with stories we make up in our heads about how things might, or should, or could turn out) is futile.

So, what if – instead of thinking about uncertainty as a problem… as something you have to banish or overcome – you could think of uncertainty as one of your greatest teachers in this lifetime?

What if it’s your spiritual task to master how to be ok and feel more comfortable with uncertainty?

What if this is one of the most purposeful, meaningful, challenging things you’re here to do? (Perhaps even a lesson you’re carrying over from a previous lifetime?)

True freedom means being able to stand steady and remain at peace – or at least remain relatively calm – even if something unexpected happens. Or even if you have no idea what’s going to happen. Even if you don’t have the answer to something yet.

You can consciously choose to USE moments of uncertainty to practice how to be more comfortable with not knowing, and how to remain calm even in the face of the great unknowns in your life.

Because, at the end of the day, human life is impermanent, and change – as they say – is the only constant.

Your friend,
Josephine

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